Ireland's Cruelest Pirate: The Untold Story (Part 3 of 3)

Third and final part in the series on the previously untold history of Ireland's most unheard-of pirate.

PART 1  |  PART 2

Excerpt from Part 1:

Séamlus O'Toole (c. 1650 - 1694) is the most famous Irish pirate in maritime alternative history. Little is known of his origins beyond a vague reference in a mid-15th century Irish tavern ledger, discovered in university archives at Dublin in 1984. The entry appears to identify his father as being a sailor (name unknown) who skipped out on his reckoning, and his mother a tavern "strumpet" whom he failed to pay for services rendered, thus losing the landlord his cut, and gaining the lady a son.

Begin Part 3:

Principal Dates

Historical artifacts have been found and collected which provide historians who have nothing better with which to occupy their time with several key dates in the life of the old Irish pirate.

  • 1650: Born. Birthplace: Feckbridge, Ireland. Church archives for this year show the infant Séamlus denied baptism for having "beshitted the good father’s scapular as he were commencing of the ceremonie".

  • 1660: Possible first sea voyage. Logged as Cabin Boy on crew manifest of coasting freighter Bess Millie. The captain's log of that year survives and also contains a brief reference: "Cabin boys, none of um be any good. Bugger that Otoole whelp - worst of a bad lot!"

  • 1674: Probable first command and act of piracy. Damaged log of English merchant vessel Inda Boggs, washed ashore following the disappearance of the ship, appears to show him as acting captain, with which entry the log ends abruptly.

  • 1688: First known pirate raid, taking the Flemish merchantman Smerige Leugens. No survivors, but a brief message in a bottle was later recovered which named the vessel and told of an attack by a "bloodie newe redd Irishe pirate" (translated from the original Dutch by the Flemish cook, and entered into the ship’s log by the skipper of the Gawdhelpus, an English ship that recovered the artifact).

  • 1694: Death. Killed in hand-to-hand combat by David O'Dowd, an Irish ordinary seaman serving aboard the Scottish freighter Maid O’ Cadiz, while attempting to board and take the ship.

Ships Taken

The following chart lists ships that are known to have been taken by O’Toole, or for which there exists some evidence to attribute their loss to him.

Coverage in Mainstream History

Nothing. Not a damned peep. Obviously the bloody feckin' English have conspired to suppress it. Bastards!

References in Popular Culture

On March 17, 2017 (St. Patrick's Day), expatriate American folk-singer Robert Palomo (an artist as obscure as O'Toole himself), released The Ballad of Shillelagh O'Toole , a musical recounting of the life and adventures of Ireland’s cruelest pirate. The single escaped wide critical acclaim, or even notice for that matter, eventually reaching #42 on Swillboard’s Stinkin’ Shite chart, where it remained for over 20 minutes.


Prof. Padraic FinagleABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Padraig Finagle is Ass. Professor of Alternative History and Brewing at the Auxiliary Maritime Institute and Public House of Skibbereen, Ireland. He holds an MBA (Master of Brewing Ales) from Boozer University, Kilkenny Ireland and is a fellow of the Guinness Institute, from which he holds an honorary D.D.T. (Doctor of Delirium Tremens).


Say, now, me an' Robert, we're just bloody dry after puttin' all this together for you folk! Do ye not think the least you could do is shoot us a little brass f'some beer now? See those Buy From doo-dads up there? S'pose you just click one and toss some coin in th' kitty. The barman'll do the rest. And may the blessin's of good Saint Patrick dog yer footsteps all yer days!


Song art image


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